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A long winded hello from the PNW

Posted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:25 pm
by HanaSolo
A couple summers back, over a shared jar of acrid moonshine, a friend told me between grimaces of his dream to rent his place out, restore an old sailboat, and set off with his wife and sons around the world. How long would that take- I wondered aloud, and was stupefied at his response--- 7 years! I'd been expecting a long sabbatical, maybe a year. But how was 7 years even conceivable?! Here came my introduction to MMM and the notion of early retirement. As he spun me his fantasy, a melange of emotions arose in me: definite excitement and enthusiasm, but underneath that an angry incredulity. Who could even consider making enough money to stop working in their late 30s? What about the education of his children?! And why do I have to work so damn hard to even dream to retire before I'm considered geriatric?! Woe is me indeed.

The sensation felt familiar. It was the response my partner and I'd received from some (though not most) people we encountered while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail several years ago. Occasionally we'd come across someone who hadn't heard of the hike and we'd have the rare pleasure of revealing to them the world of thru-hiking. Most folks were intrigued, or at least a bit impressed, but once in a while someone would seem almost mad at us, as if we hadn't considered how crushing life truly is, and certainly we weren't planning accordingly. I'd always suspected those souls were the ones who most wanted what we had, and who felt most disempowered to attain it.

That same resistance was roused in me during my introduction to early retirement: it was unfamiliar and I couldn't conceive my path to it. And it threw into question my current life and it's planned trajectory, which frankly pissed me off, because I'd worked damn hard to get to where I was. But deep down I knew I'd been questioning my life path for a while now. I noticed it when I was promoted to the management job I'd been enthusiastically seeking for several years. When I arrived, so to speak, I felt strangely trapped and insecure- a worrying contrast to the sense of accomplishment and completion I'd been expecting. Suddenly, even with a rewarding vocation and decent advancement potential, 30 years of work seemed like a very, very long time.

Truthfully. the conversation with my friend that evening made no immediate impact on my life. But the idea percolated. I listened to a few FIRE podcasts, but found myself strangely uncomfortable, unwilling to look at the details of the dollars. But I suppose slowly, through gentle exposure over time, I started facing our money without anxiety, and even started enjoying the process. Which takes us to present.

I'm a 33 year old DINK living on the lovely Olympic Peninsula, and in the throws of ER excitement- moving money around, budgeting, learning just enough about investing to hopefully not get myself into too much trouble. Happily, my husband and I have already paid off our student loans and our only debt is our mortgage. I've built enough of a retirement account to feel like we're starting with a little momentum, though my husband has next to no retirement savings. We recently have been at a 50% savings rate and may be able to do a bit better next year. I'm most certainly doing some things wrong currently, but if I didn't allow that then we wouldn't start at all. We're still working out what "retirement" could look like, and I figure that will solidify as we go. Husband long ago left his field of study and is blissfully brewing beer for a pittance, and I suspect would feel privileged to do so forever. And it's interesting how much more I've been enjoying my job now that the finish line seems to have moved closer. So perhaps not full early retirement for us, but definitely aiming for financial independence and I'm really looking forward to learning from all of you.

Re: A long winded hello from the PNW

Posted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:00 am
by AxelHeyst
What a great introduction. Welcome! I had the pleasure of road tripping around your neck of the woods in July.. beautiful!

Re: A long winded hello from the PNW

Posted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:10 am
by Western Red Cedar
Welcome to the forum! One of my mantras when I was in your position was "poco a poco." One positive change will lead to another.

One of the cool things about ERE is that if you get your spending low enough, you won't necessarily need a huge stash. Brewing beer could cover most of your expenses. :)

Re: A long winded hello from the PNW

Posted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:22 pm
by HanaSolo
@axelheyst that's a lovely time to visit and thanks for the welcome!

@WRC- The magnificent thuja placata! Indeed- I'm trusting that more will seem possible once the current changes are solidified. I actually love this as a first goal: achieve Brewer's Annual Net Income! Currently operating at ~2x BI :D :D :D

Re: A long winded hello from the PNW

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 6:22 pm
by Autotroph
I love your vocabulary! I just learned what 'incredulity' means and love it! I think you nailed the kinds of thoughts one has when exposed to these ideas for the first time. It's like a grieving process almost lol the slow realization that one has probably not been living the life they want.